FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2009
Founder and Director
RECONNECTION III ISSUES CALL TO EXODUSTER DESCENDANTS
|Groves descendants at Reconnection II in Edwardsville, KS||Reconnection II presentation and speaker, James Barnes, Union Pacific Railroad, Edwardsville, KS|
Manhattan, KS (BlackNews.com) - Calling all "Exoduster" descendants nationwide! An event aimed at reconnecting the descendants of those who fled the South in the Great Exodus of 1879 and formed colonies in "free soil" Kansas is planned for April 17-18 at Kansas State University.
This third Reconnection event will celebrate the Dunlap Colony of Morris County, its Academy, and Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, who founded the colony and is recognized as the "Father of the Exodus."
"I'm hoping for the participation and warmth of a family reunion," Ustaine Talley of Topeka, a Dunlap native, remarked. "We also want descendants of benefactors of the colonies to be a part of this reconnection."
The program of Friday, April 17, will include eight lectures followed by discussion sessions in which attendees will be encouraged to participate. A panel discussion and an informative reenactment of the life of a slave, soldier, and farmer will round out the program. Speakers from six Kansas cities who have researched the Dunlap Colony will participate. Book signings by two authors of books about the Dunlap Colony will conclude the day.
On Saturday, April 18, a bus tour to the Dunlap vicinity is planned. Stops at the Raglan/Bailey cemetery, Kaw Indian Reservation sites, site of the Freedmen's Academy of Kansas in Dunlap, the Dunlap Black Cemetery, the Baptist Church ruins, and many homestead sites are planned. Luncheon, included with the tour, will be served at the Dunlap United Methodist Church.
A Saturday evening banquet will be held at the Holiday Inn across from the K-State campus. The featured speaker will be Professor Gary R. Entz of the History Department of McPherson College, who has written about Pap Singleton and his Kansas colonies. His address is entitled, "Peaceful Homes and Quiet Firesides: Benjamin 'Pap' Singleton and Migration to Kansas," a title based on a song written by Pap's colleagues to inspire settlers in his colonies. Nat Fitz, originator of the Reconnection events, will also make remarks.
Registration for Friday seminars is free. Preregistration fees are required for the Dunlap tour ($25) and the banquet ($30). The preregistration deadline is Monday, April 13. To preregister or for more information, please contact Nat Fitz (510-620-0919; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Don Nelson (508-791-1749; email@example.com). Information can also be found online at www.votawcolony.org. The Kansas Humanities Council, Kansas Department of Commerce, and Kansas State University are partial funders of the conference.